Leonard to leave frontline politics
A former policeman and Orangeman who represented Sinn Fein at the Assembly is to leave frontline politics, it has been confirmed.
East Londonderry representative Billy Leonard said he will not be putting his name forward for next May's elections.
He said he would remain a member of the party, but was unable to devote the necessary time to be an effective public representative.
In a statement issued by Sinn Fein, Mr Leonard said: "After a period of discussion with my family I have taken the decision that I will not seek a nomination to run in the May Assembly or Council elections.
"The time commitment required to be an effective public representative is significant.
"At this stage in my life there are a number of other interests I wish to pursue including writing a book.
"It is simply not possible to pursue these interests and maintain my role as a public representative.
"I have informed the party of my decision in order to allow time for the appropriate selection procedures in East Derry to be completed well in advance of the elections."
He added: "I intend to remain active in the party and offer support to those colleagues who take the decision to seek election."